(First and foremost, this should not be construed as legal advice, nor is it the full extent of the property laws in Texas. If you have a question about the property laws in Texas, we invite you to contact your real estate attorney or use one of the legal services links below.)
The residential homestead exemption refers to the lot or parcel of land which the dwelling of a family or single adult is located. Anything that is a part of the land is subject to the homestead exemption laws of the State of Texas. One section of the law deals with the inability of debtors to attach liens to your residence; a mortgage or deed of trust is the exception, as most folks use the home as collateral for a loan.
Another section of the law grants a property tax exemption of $25,000 to your home. In other words, if the home appraises for $250,000, you’ll be taxed as if it appraised for $225,000. Homeowners are allowed this exemption on their principal residence only. New homeowners may apply for the exemption with the county once they’ve owned the home on January 1st. (If you buy a home on January 2, you’ll wait an entire year to get the exemption.)
Other home exemptions are: Over 65 Exemption, 100% Disabled Veteran Exemptions, and Disabled Person Exemption.
Exemption eligibility subject to the following:
In order to qualify for the Homestead Exemption, the property owner must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st of the tax year. This property must be your principal residence and you may not claim homestead on another property. Property purchased after January 1st of the tax year would not qualify for the Homestead Exemption for the current year. Requirements are a Texas issued Driver License or Identification card showing your current physical address.
To be eligible for the Over 65 Exemption you must own and occupy the property. This property must be your principal residence. Only one of the listed owners must be 65 years of age and can apply at any time during the year they turn 65. Requirements are a Texas issued Driver License or Identification card showing your current physical address.
You must be rated as a 100% Disabled Veteran by the Veterans Affairs Administration to apply for this exemption. This property must be your principal residence and you may not claim homestead on another property. The exemption is prorated as of the date you own and occupy your home. Requirements are a copy of your current VA Letter showing the effective date and disability rating, 100% Disabled Veteran entitlement and a Texas issued Driver License or Identification card showing your current physical address.
You must meet the criteria of a disabled person to qualify for the Disabled Person Exemption. If you are considered disabled for purposes of payment of disability insurance benefits, or unable to work, you may qualify for this exemption. You must own and occupy the property as your principal residence. You cannot receive both the Over 65 and the Disabled Person Exemptions. Requirements are a letter showing the effective date of disability and a Texas issued Driver License or Identification card showing your current physical address.
You may apply for these exemptions for Travis County at: https://www.traviscad.org/homesteadexemptions/
Community Property Law
Texas is one of the nine states that have a community property jurisdiction. Community property may be defined as all property acquired by either spouse during a marriage, except separate property of either. Separate property might be property owned or claimed by one spouse before the marriage but also certain exceptions afterwards – like gifts or by inheritance. Property acquired during the marriage is generally presumed to be community property.
ABA Free Legal Answers • Texas
Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas
512.472.8303 • austinlrs.com
State Bar of Texas
512.427.1463 • texasbar.com
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.
4920 IH-35 N, Austin, Texas 78751512.374.2700 • https://www.trla.org
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